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Dr. Fleiszig Weighs In

A woman using artificial tear drops.
Photo by Pexels Karolina Grabowska, courtesy of the National Eye Institute.
Dr. Fleiszig and other experts weigh in on artificial tears in midst of infectious outbreak.

Several brands of artificial tears have been linked to an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. According to an article published by the National Eye Institute (NEI), the outbreak has involved, “64 people in 13 states, including 8 cases of vision loss, as well as lung and urinary tract infections, and one death.”

Berkeley’s Dr. Suzanne Fleiszig, a widely-respected authority on the pathogenesis of bacterial infections of the cornea, was interviewed for the NEI article and commented that, “while infection with the specific, highly resistant bacterial strain at the heart of the outbreak is rare, P. aeruginosa as a bacterial species is everywhere. It lives in soil, ponds and lakes, and even tap water,” and that, “…humans have evolved all these defenses. And under normal circumstances, we don’t get infections with opportunistic pathogens.”

Just how the strain of P. aeruginosa made its way into bottles of artificial tears remains a mystery, and according to the NEI article, “it’s uncertain if contamination occurred during or after manufacturing.”

To read the full article by the National Eye Institute on the P. aeruginosa outbreak, please click the button below.

National Eye Institute